A new method of creating electrical energy has been developed by scientists studying nano-technology at MIT through the use of a previously undiscovered phenomena wherein microscopic wires can be used in certain formations to produce electricity at a scale that may lead to a breakthrough in future ultra-small electronic devices.
The basic mechanics involve latticed layered wires known as carbon nanotubes. The carbon nanotubes are incredibly small hollow tubes that are coated in a layer of ultra high powered fuel that produces energy through decomposition. The catalyst is a small laser or high voltage spark that travels through the wires using a phenomenon known as thermopower. The discovery, according to researchers at MIT has opened up a new area of energy research, which is understandably rare. The wave of electrons is pushed through the lattice work like a tsunami after a large shelf falls into the ocean, each individual electron pushing the next one out, while the high yield output actually amplifies the electrical output using the fuel hidden within the carbon nanotubes. Currently the potential power output for a typical Alkaline battery such as a AAA is merely 1/100th of the potential power input of a Nanotube battery of the same weight. Imagine a tiny battery cell that actually has a power output of 100 times that of a typical AAA battery. Imagine three large 6 volt batteries put together, and you have almost the amount of power output potential of one AAA battery sized Nanotube battery as it currently is. In a world where many limitations on green energy rest on the potential keeping power of batteries, the Nanotube battery has the potential to bring about a technological revolution the likes of which has not been seen in several years not only for its potential power output, but its limited size.
Of course an incredible amount of research must still be done before these batteries are ready for application in larger systems, but as it currently stands there are already several potential applications for smaller systems that will hopefully be coming out in the near future. The downside, of course, is there is still much time and work that must be put into these projects and several different avenues of research before these systems could be economically viable. One potential application, according to the scientists who first discovered the property, is to have several tiny sensors with these energy systems to be released into the atmosphere to observe changes and transmit data on potential climate change. If the battery systems turn out to have larger applications, however, they could in time be perfected and used in robotics systems as well as a number of space faring ventures as well as nanotechnology which is currently limited by the current energy storage and output. As technology gets smaller, energy will be a larger concern, but with Nanotube batteries, hopefully the next generation of computers (or possibly those two generations from now) and gadgets will have high yield batteries that will make them all the more viable and marketable.